Hydraulic Fracturing Videos

Celebrities: You Don’t Know What You’re Fracking Talking About

Recently, ill-informed Hollywood celebrities released a video on a topic they obviously know nothing about – fracking. Urging President Obama and the Governors of Colorado and New York to ban fracking, these celebrities clearly don’t understand that their lavish lifestyles depend on oil and natural gas. From providing the mobility to travel the world; heating and cooling their mansions; powering their electronics; and providing the feedstock for countless consumer products such as cosmetics, smart phones, clothing and the chemicals used in plastic surgery, their way of life would vanish without oil and natural gas. 

About 60% of oil and 98% of natural gas consumed in America is produced in America. Hydraulic fracturing is a safe process used in about 90% of U.S. wells. Banning fracking would virtually halt oil and natural gas development in America, causing us to import more energy from overseas where it’s done with less environmental protection.

In fact, over 1.2 million wells have been fracked over the last six decades without a single case of contamination of underground sources of drinking water.

If you’ve seen those celebrity videos made by a group called Americans Against Fracking whose mission is to ban fracking, you were exposed to several falsehoods. Here they are debunked:

Hollywood Fiction #1: Fracking poisons our drinking water.

Reality: There has not been a single case of contamination of underground sources of drinking water. But don’t take our word for it:

“I still have not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater.” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

“I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracing process itself has affected water. In no case have we made a definitive determination that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter ground water.” Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson  

“Fracking has been done safely for decades. There is no doubt that this essential tool will be used for decades to come.” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell

“There’s a lot of hysteria that takes place right now with respect to hydraulic fracking…it can be done safely and has been done safely hundreds of thousands of times.” Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar

Hollywood Fiction #2: Fracking relies on toxic chemicals that cause cancer.

Reality: Most frack fluid is water and sand with generally less than one percent consisting of chemicals. The small amount of highly diluted chemicals used in fracking are mostly food additives or common household cleaning chemicals. However, any chemicals used are handled in accordance with federal regulations.

The larger issue is the fear mongering that the environmental lobby perpetuates, using celebrities as their mouthpiece. Many chemicals, even otherwise benign ones used every day, can cause cancer at high doses for prolonged periods of time. The chemicals used to manufacture common, everyday products are often classified and handled as carcinogens as a precaution.

The key is to ensure that people are not exposed to the chemicals under conditions that could increase the risk of cancer. That’s why fracking is done in such a way to ensure the public never comes in contact with them:

  • The well is constructed with multiple layers of steel pipe and cement so that the frack fluid has no way to get from the well into underground aquifers.
  • Fracking is typically conducted thousands of feet below aquifers.
  • Water and hydrocarbons returned to the surface are handled and disposed of in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act.
  • Any spills of fluids, even small ones, must be reported and remediated. The vast majority of spills are contained on the well pad.
  • In the event of a surface spill, companies must clean up any impact to surface water and soils, and are held liable.

Hollywood Fiction #3: Fracking makes climate change worse.

Reality: In a study showing that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced to 1994 levels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that, “…the large increase in natural gas-fired generation relative to coal contributed to the significant decline in emissions in 2012.” The U.S. is the only industrialized country that has significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, largely because of natural gas.

“Responsible development of natural gas is an important part of our work to curb climate change and support a robust clean energy market at home.” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Hollywood Fiction #4: A Colorado public health study shows living within a quarter mile of “a fracking well” significantly increases the risk of cancer.

Reality: The Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH) study the actor is referring to assumed emissions are 10 times higher and that people are exposed to them 900% longer than real world conditions. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment found flaws in the CSPH methodology and backed out of the project. Despite the problems with their study, CSPH still found cancer risks in Garfield County where the study was conducted are no higher than national averages.

Hollywood Fiction #5: EPA should reopen studies in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming.

Reality: The actor is referring to cases in Parker County, TX and Dimock, PA, in which state regulators found no evidence of contamination from fracking. At the behest of environmental groups, EPA stepped in only to confirm drinking water was not contaminated from fracking. In the case of Pavillion, WY, EPA botched its investigation so badly that it actually introduced contamination into water wells and subsequently turned the study back over to the state. 

Watch More on Hydraulic Fracturing

The two short videos below explain the process of hydraulic fracturing.